Performance data helps providers in Georgia

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Jon Howell
Jon Howell

As consumers grow more comfortable with using performance information to help select care providers for their loved ones, and regulators increasingly evaluate providers based on data, the move by Georgia long-term care leaders over 10 years ago to implement an evidence-based strategy has proved helpful to consumers, providers, and policymakers.

In 2003, the leaders of the Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA) began a relationship with My InnerView, now part of National Research Corporation. 

The goals:

  • Broadly measure and improve performance at skilled nursing care centers
  • Increase satisfaction for consumers and caregiving staff

This customer-centric endeavor, supported by consumers and the state's Department of Community Health, made Georgia the first state in the nation to regularly measure satisfaction on a statewide basis for people who use nursing homes or work in them.

By working with the My InnerView staff of National Research, the Georgia Quality Improvement Program has given providers direct access to a common set of performance measurement and improvement tools and data that enable them to set their own targets and compare their results to skilled nursing care centers across the state—and the nation. 

So, where are we today? For starters, virtually 100% of Georgia's eligible skilled nursing care centers participate in the program every year. Georgia nursing homes overall now exceed national rates of satisfaction among their customers and employees, where a decade ago they were below national benchmarks.

In 2013, 90 percent of residents and families statewide rated their nursing homes as either excellent or good. This means Georgia has already met the American Health Care Association's (AHCA) Quality Initiative goal to increase customer satisfaction in the "willingness to recommend" category to 90 percent by March 2015.

Providers in Georgia proactively use these data in many ways. Centers share performance results with their residents and staff to examine areas for improvement and train staff to implement solutions. They also make information available to family decision-makers and often add data points to marketing materials. All stakeholders have been receptive to a better understanding of the quality care offered in Georgia nursing homes.


Family members also provide valuable input. In 2013, they gave providers high marks with 89% of family survey respondents giving an overall rating of excellent or good, with the same percentage also indicating a strong willingness to recommend the facility to others. 

In addition, the percentages of both residents and families rating their facilities as excellent have climbed steadily under the program, as have scores on a number of important clinical outcomes.

Finally, long term care providers understand that leadership and frontline employees have a significant impact on the success of their mission. In 2013, 75% of employees in Georgia nursing facilities would recommend their facility as an excellent or good place to receive care. Equally important, the overall satisfaction of employees in 2004 was 59% and today it is 63%, and direct care staff retention has improved over time.

The GHCA is committed to information-sharing, and each year publishes the GHCA Quality Report that shines a spotlight on performance data. The report is distributed to state policymakers, legislators, and regulators. It is also made available to the general public via www.GHCA.info.

Providers and stakeholders in Georgia made and kept a commitment to continuous quality improvement for the benefit of consumers, families, and employees. As a result, the state's long term care community is ahead of the game when it comes to readiness for how care will be provided and evaluated long into the future. It pays to be proactive in today's healthcare environment.


Jon S. Howell is president and CEO of the Georgia Health Care Association. For more information visit www.GHCA.info or www.Facebook.com/GHCA.info

Bruce Thevenot is senior consultant to National Research Corporation and its My InnerView products. The company's focus on empowering customer-centric healthcare across the continuum extends patient-centered care to incorporate families, senior housing residents, communities, employees, and many other stakeholders. For more information, call 800-388-4264, write to info@nationalresearch.com, or visit www.nationalresearch.com/myinnerview.

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